P. Oppili and Meera Srinivasan

Authorities go extra mile to ensure safety of public

CHENNAI: The City Police roped in fishermen from Nadukkuppam to monitor the crowd on the Marina on `Kaanum Pongal' day.

Clad in sporty white T-shirts to enable easy identification, more than a 100 fishermen stood watch from the Light House to Anna Square.

Members of the public were not allowed to bathe in the sea.

While police constables kept watch to prevent people from getting into the water, the fishermen were on alert to rescue anyone in trouble.

This is the first time that the City Police have involved local fishermen in crowd-management during `Kaanum Pongal.'

"They were very helpful during the tsunami, too," said an officer.

Besides fishermen, student volunteers from the NCC wings of city colleges were also stationed along the Marina beach.

"This year, the crowd was lesser than expected, perhaps because it is a working day," said a senior officer.

The crowd started growing after sunset.

Men, women with children gathered in large numbers between Seerani Arangam point and Anna Square.

With more and more people heading for the beach, the crowd swelled at the junction of Wallajah Road-Kamarajar Salai.

People alighting the buses crossed the road instead of using the subway, hampering vehicular movement on Kamarajar Salai.

A Coast Guard helicopter patrolled the skies from Anna Square to Palavakkam beach, while a Port Marine Police vessel operated between Anna Square and Light House.